This species is better known by its Afrikaans name, stamvrug
and is one of South Africa's more popular veld fruits, a thirst
quencher to be enjoyed whilst walking in the mountains.This is one
of the families that contains a milky latex within the plants.
This is a small to medium size evergreen tree that varies in height
from 3-15 m, depending on the habitat it grows in. The taller trees
can be found in evergreen forests. It can be single or multistemmed,
and may branch at ground level. The bark is greyish, smooth and
slightly scaly. The young twigs or branchlets are densely covered
with russet-brown hairs.
leaves are single, alternatively arranged, and often crowded at
the end of branchlets. The young leaves are golden brown and can
be found at the tips of the branchlets. The older leaves are glossy
dark to blue-green above and covered with a whitish, transparent,
waxy bloom that rubs off when touched. From afar it gives the tree
a silvery look. The under surface is densely covered with silky
golden brown to sometimes silvery hairs. The midrib is very prominent.
The margin of the leaf is entire and tightly rolled under. The shape
of the leaf is narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate with a rounded
apex that sometimes can be notched. The base of the leaf is narrowly
tapering, continuing into the rather stout petiole covered with
The flowers are small, rather strongly unpleasantly scented, star-shaped
and brownish pink in colour. They are clustered on new and old wood,
a few to many flowers per cluster. These trees flower from June
to December and sometimes flowers and fruits can be found on the
plant at the same time.
The fruit is a berry, ellipsoid to sometimes round, fleshy and
contains sticky, milky latex. The fruit is densely crowded on the
stems, branches and branchlets, hence the Afrikaans common name
stamvrug referring to the fruit forming on the stem. The
fruit is bright red when ripe and ripens from December to February.
The edible fruit according to Van Wyk et al. (2000) has a Vitamin
C content of 40mg per 100g.
attractive plant is characteristic of rocky outcrops and quartzite
ridges, and also occurs in riverine forest fringes in the following
provinces of South Africa: Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo
and the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal.
Magalismontanum means from the Magaliesberg.
The larvae of the butterfly Pseudacrea boisduvalii trimeni
use the plant as a food source. Animals like baboons and monkeys
eat the fruit while bushpigs readily eat the roots.
Uses and economic value
The fruit is used for making syrup, jelly, jam, wine, vinegar and
are sometimes distilled to produce a strong alcoholic drink known
as mampoer according to Van Wyk et al. Recipes are available in
Betsie Rood's (1994) book for jam and vinegar as indicated in the
reference list. It really is something to try.
This plant has medicinal value as well. It is said that powdered
roots can be rubbed into incisions made in the skin over affected
areas to treat rheumatism, and a decoction is used to treat abdominal
pain. It is also said that an infusion of finely powdered roots
and fruits has been used to cure epilepsy.
Growing Englerophytum magalismontanum
This attractive tree is a hardy, frost and drought resistant plant
although rarely cultivated in the trade. It does very well on quartzite
outcrops and in rocky areas. It can be propagated from fresh seed
According to Steel & Behr (1988) the best sowing time for seed
is January while the seed is still fresh. The germination period
is about 37 days and plants are big enough to transplant two months
- Coates Palgrave, M. 2002. Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of
southern Africa, edn 3. Struik, Cape Town.
- Fox, F.W. & Norwood Young, M.E. 1982. Food from the veld.
Delta Books, Johannesburg.
- Palmer, E. & Pitman, N. 1972. Trees of southern Africa,
vol. 3. Balkema, Cape Town.
- Rood, B. 1994. Kos uit die veldkombuis. Tafelberg, Cape
- Steel, B. & Behr, K. 1988. Cultivating Bequaertiodendron
magalismontanum and Landolfia capensis from seed. Veld &
Flora 74: 4.
- Thomas, V. & Grant, R. 1998. SAPPI tree spotting. Highveld
and the Drakensberg. 1998. Jacana, Johannesburg.
- Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field guide to trees
of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.
- Van Wyk, B.,Van Wyk, P. & Van Wyk, B-E. 2000. Photographic
guide to the trees of southern Africa. Briza Publications,
- Van Wyk, P. 1984. Veldgids tot die bome van die Nasionale
Krugerwildtuin. Struik, Cape Town.
Venter, F. & Venter, J-A. 1996. Making the most of indigenous
trees. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Pretoria National Botanical Garden